Level 3 dispute continues...
Earlier this month Level3 proclaimed that Comcast was violating net neutrality by demanding they pay a new connection fee
to deliver Internet video services to Comcast customers. Comcast responded by claiming the dispute was just another peering dispute
, the likes of which we've seen tier 1 backbone providers (most frequently Cogent
) engaged in over the years. Level 3 continued to argue that Comcast is misleading people
, this wasn't a normal peering dispute, and Comcast was simply trying to cash in on Level's handling of Netflix traffic.
If you recall, buried under the roar of this argument was the NANOG (North American Network Operators' Group) newsgroup claim
that Comcast was intentionally saturating their TATA transit links and forcing companies to use them if they refused to play ball with Comcast. That claim popped up again today over at Slashdot
, who points to a renewed discussion of the practice on NANOG:
"A kind soul known as Backdoor Santa has posted graphs purportedly showing traffic through TATA, one of Comcast's transit providers. The graphs of throughput for a day and month, respectively, show that Comcast chooses to run congested links rather than buy more capacity. Keeping their links full may ensure that content providers must pay to colocate within Comcast's network. The graphs also show a traffic ratio far from 1:1, which has implications for the validity of its arguments with Level (3) last month."
From the actual NANOG post:
Remember that this is not TATA's fault, Comcast is a CUSTOMER of TATA. TATA cannot force Comcast to upgrade its links, Comcast elects to simply not purchase enough capacity and lets them run full. When Comcast demanded that Level (3) pay them, the only choice Level (3) had was to give in or have its traffic (such as Netflix) routed via the congested TATA links. If Level (3) didn't agree to pay, that means Netflix and large portions of the Internet to browse would be simply unusable for the majority of the day for Comcast subscribers.
That falls in line with Level3's claim that this is not simply a peering dispute, but a new effort that involves Comcast using their massive last mile customer base as leverage in order to milk tier 1 operators out of additional revenue. We've dropped Comcast a line asking for their response to these claims, and will post whatever we get.Update
: Comcast has offered this statement:
We're not going to respond tit for tat on the validity of the so-called "TATA graphs" because they aren't ours, but the allegation that these graphs demonstrate that Comcast is engaging in what the blogger calls "congestion by choice" are patently false.
Internet traffic shifts and growth happen all the time and many of these are beyond any one network's control, including ours. When they do occur, or when we can reasonably anticipate them, we adjust capacity to optimize the traffic flow between our network and our fellow networks.
Trying to base a theory upon a snapshot of TATA ports in one market during a particular time period (assuming the graph is legitimate) paints a narrow, inaccurate picture. It hardly represents how the Internet functions or the capacity and varied paths between Comcast and many networks on the Internet.